Click on a picture to embiggen. All photos copyright, Steph Mineart. Not to be used without permission.
Over the last few years, I’ve covered most of the city of Indianapolis, photographing all of the roadside art and “Big Things” with the help of my family, friends and totals strangers helping me spot their locations. Sadly, since I started photographing in 1999, Some of Indy’s “Big Things” have been lost to time, due to businesses closing or natural disasters. Here are my photographs in tribute to Indianapolis icons that are lost time.
Posthumous mention: I haven’t been able to locate photos of it, but there used to be a giant cow at Robert’s Dairy on 41st Street and Millersville Road. Some accounts place it at over 40 feet tall. It went away in the early eighties when the dairy closed.
I recently broke the “Big Things In Indianapolis” into three categories — a page of permanent fixtures, a page specifically for Inflated Big Things, and this page of “Big Things” that have disappeared.
Historic Big Things in Indy
A giant Santa made of styrofoam that used to stand in Union Station, and the two giant milk bottles of Polk’s Dairy, which used to be in downtown Indianapolis. Both of these Big Things are long gone, unfortunately, but their photos live on in the Indiana Historical Society archives.
Atlas Holding Up the World
at a Fitness Center on North Keystone Street. Sometime after I took my original photos in 2000, he got a great new paint job and was gold. Sadly, in late 2004, he blew over in the wind and was damaged, and then before he could be repaired, someone came along and decapitated him.
Mysterious Giant Tao Symbol on Delaware Street
I stumbled across this giant tao symbol in an empty double lot on Delaware Street downtown back in the late 90’s. The cool thing is that it can’t be seen from the street. It spans two empty lots and is about 80 feet across, but from the ground, you don’t really realize what it is unless you stand in the middle of it. Aerial photos of the city show that it was created sometime between 1965, when there were two houses on the lots, and 1976, which is the first time it shows up in photos. I went to take pictures of it in the fall of 2004, and it’s gone. It was paved over with a parking lot.
Giant Animals on Cars at Love’s Car Lot
There used to be a Love’s Car Lot on East Washington Street that rented cars with giant Chickens, Turkeys, Pigs, etc. on their roofs. The decorated cars are no longer at the Washington Street location, which seems to have new owners. I spotted two of the cars in a parking lot south of Castleton Mall, and later saw the turkey on a newly-painted chicken car around town, then saw the chicken advertising a different business.
There is a Chicken Limo you can rent, but it’s not the same as the original Loves’ Chicken.
Giant FAO Schwartz Bear
In Circle Center Mall, Downtown Indianapolis, when FAO Schwartz was a part of the mall. Sadly this bear is gone when the store closed.
World’s Largest Yo-Yo
Used to be located in the children’s museum store in Circle Center Mall. That store is closed – The yo-yo may still be around somewhere, but I haven’t spotted it.
Giant Cat Tails
Located at a tanning Salon around 65th and College. The tanning salon is now gone (sometime in Spring 2005) and the pussy willows are, too. No idea whether they relocated. Get More Info from this site about the best salon around your neighborhood.
Giant Pants and Shoes
Used to be on the Speice building at 75th and Keystone. These are gone now, and the building was remodeled to be a youth training center.
at the Bigfoot Gas station on west 38th. There were several at stations around town. This one is definitely gone, and I think all of them are.